{mosimage}OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to press the reset button and ask the Governor General to prorogue Parliament has postponed the vote on a number of pieces of legislation.

It has postponed debate on a controversial private member’s euthanasia bill, guaranteed Conservative MP Joy Smith’s anti-human trafficking Bill C-268 will not become law before the Vancouver Olympics and stalled Liberal MP John McKay’s mining accountability Bill C-300, which had reached the committee stage in the House of Commons. 

Pope's World Day of Peace message would suit Canada

{mosimage}On peace and on climate change Canada isn’t measuring up to Pope Benedict XVI’s vision for peace on Earth and good will toward men, according to life-long Conservative and retired Senator Doug Roche.

The Pope’s message for World Day of Peace links progress toward peace to climate change and environmental degradation. The Vatican headlined the message “If you want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.”

Canadian High Commission in Ghana failing young refugees

{mosimage}Though he has been attacked in the street, had to be moved to a safe house and is now so depressed he only speaks in whispers, a 14-year-old refugee stranded alone in Accra, Ghana, still does not qualify for urgent or expedited processing, according to Immigration Canada officials handling the case. (See - Tamil refugee boy in immigration limbo.)

If the Canadian High Commission in Accra manages to process the boy refugee in the standard 37 months it takes to get through the paperwork, the boy will be 18 when he is finally reunited with his surviving family in Toronto.

Trooper Marc Diab is gone, but not forgotten

{mosimage} MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - A framed photo of fallen soldier Marc Diab sits in every room of the Diab family’s new home.

Almost a year after the 22-year-old trooper was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, the family is still mourning his loss but says they’re coping thanks to community support and by keeping his memory alive through the charitable foundation they started the day after his funeral.

Anti-Semitism claim shocks KAIROS

{mosimage}KAIROS and it’s supporters have reacted with shock, dismay, anger and bewilderment at being called anti-Semitic by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney at a conference in Jerusalem.

“We have de-funded organizations, most recently, like KAIROS who are taking a leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign” against Israel, Kenney told the Global Forum for Combatting Anti-Semitism Dec. 16.

Charitable donors try to alleviate world poverty

{mosimage}More than half of Canadians who give to charity are trying to do something about poverty and international development, according to an Ipsos Reid poll that probes Canadian patterns in giving.

The 51 per cent of Canadians who chose to make their charitable donations to agencies that work in international development and poverty trails only the medical category which attracted 77 per cent of donors. Poverty and international development outpaced third-place environmental causes, which attracted 31 per cent of donors.

Rosary, faithful family, friends lead priest to altar

{mosimage}The Montreal diocese received an early Christmas present in the form of its newest priest, Fr. François Charette.

Charette, 31, was ordained for the diocese Dec. 11 after a 13-year journey that began with a conversion of heart, involvement in a pontifical lay community, parish work and missionary work in Latin America.

Bells ring, drums beat for deal on climate change

{mosimage}In Kingston, Ont., church bells rang in solidarity with others around the world Dec. 13 to encourage a just deal against climate change at the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen.

The Sisters of Providence had encouraged 14 churches, temples and mosques in the Kingston area to join in with the global call for 350 bell tolls, meant to represent the 350 parts per million which scientists have said is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. If worshippers did not have bells to clang, they were encouraged to offer alternative awareness activities.

Canadian senate latest to call for action on poverty

{mosimage}A behemoth, 300-page report with 78 recommendations, the result of two years study and testimony from more than 175 witnesses, has anti-poverty activists hoping Canadians may start thinking and talking about poverty and how to solve it.

In From the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness was tabled in the Senate Dec. 8. The government will have 150 days to respond to its findings and recommendations once Senators finish commenting on it in January.

Flu restrictions for Mass in Toronto lifted

{mosimage}TORONTO - You can shake hands at Mass again in Toronto.

As the threat of the H1N1 flu virus retreats, Archbishop Thomas Collins has removed temporary restrictions that asked people to bow or otherwise make the sign of peace without shaking hands. He’s also cleared the way for people to begin receiving communion directly on the tongue again.

St. Vincent de Paul volunteers find a way to help

{mosimage}TORONTO - Society of St. Vincent de Paul volunteer Dave McLewin starts his car on a chilly December morning and prepares for a Christmas season visit with clients.

“Business is certainly up,” he remarks during the drive to Nickeisha Hitchman’s apartment.

Recipients in St. Basil’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul outreach program are up by 70 per cent since 2006, said McLewin, 71 and in his fourth year as a volunteer.